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August 17, 2021

At what age should kids move out on their own?

I guess it’s tough to paint everyone with such a brush, but I was always under the impression that parents of college or university students wanted two things: 1) them to graduate, and 2) them to move the hell out.

This is not to sound crude. There’s little correlation, at least in how I was raised, in a parent’s love and their desire to see you out supporting yourself – which, in effect, means finding your own digs, mode of transportation and grocery bill.

But, then, that’s another debate now, isn’t it? At what point, after the age of 18, should parents (lovingly) shoo their kids out the door?

I suppose I should clarify where all this is coming from: the inspiration for this post came from an interesting survey I caught in the Financial Post Tuesday morning.

According to a study quoted on the newspaper’s website, only 51 per cent of parents with kids over 18 at home say they plan to encourage them to leave the nest within five years.

There were further results of the Canadian survey – 39 per cent of parents plan to downsize to a smaller home or condo within five years, 80 per cent plan to get rid of junk and make better use of their existing living space within five years, 30 per cent plan to “repurpose” their grown child’s bedroom into an office or storage space within five years – but the number that keeps popping up to me is this 51 per cent figure.

Certainly, times are tough. And for parents with kids who’ve completed university or college, there’s no guarantee those children have employment or, perhaps more accurately, the level of employment needed to support themselves.

But all that considered, does it strike anyone as odd that only half of parents plan to see their children out of the house within five years of turning 18?

Has the battered economy lowered our expectations of what children can accomplish by the age of 23, or is this simply a shift in the cultural norm?

Readers: when do you think, as a general guideline, it’s reasonable for parents to expect their kids to leave the nest and make it out on their own?

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

James HaversJames Havers

James is the senior editor of MSN Money living in Toronto. He has worked for the Nikkei Shimbun (Tokyo),,, Canadian Business and other publications. Havers turned to journalism after teaching overseas.

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...